Photography by Bruno Cocozza
16 May 2023
Competition was close over the weekend of 5 to 7 May in one of Queensland’s most popular women’s sailing events, the 2023 Mooloolaba Women’s Keelboat Regatta.
The event has gone from strength to strength, having won the 2022 National SheSails award for outstanding contribution to women’s sailing.
Local crew, Team Orange once again came out winners, although the results were based on Saturday’s Qualifying Round outcome, as Sunday’s Finals competition was abandoned due to lack of wind.
Nevertheless, it was competitive, quality sailing that saw six teams from as far away as Townsville compete on the club’s fleet of Elliot 6 keelboats in a 12-race round-robin qualifying series on a challenging Mooloola River short course that always keeps the action constant!
The event started on Friday 5 May with morning training sessions for boat familiarisation, followed by the annual ‘Battle for the Bubbles’ series.
The regatta itself was won by Team Orange, skippered by MYC Commodore, Tanya Kelly, followed by Team Lunasea, skippered by Danielle Kennedy, in second place.
Hailing from Townsville, Team NQ Girls, skippered by Renee Cordingly, placed third.
“Once again we had a great competition, which is a fantastic learning experience, both in skills and confidence: all teams reported a significant improvement in their boat handling across the weekend,” commented Tanya Kelly.
“The network of women sailors around the country is building, with more women’s regattas like the MWKR gaining in popularity and skill levels. At the same time, there’s terrific camaraderie and sharing of knowledge.”
The regatta has grown out of the Mooloolaba Yacht Club’s successful Women’s Skills Development program, which aims to promote pathways for women to build their racing, cruising and skippering skills in the traditionally male-dominated sport of sailing.
It’s designed to give women experience both on and off the water, with the opportunity to helm or act in leadership roles in event management, admin, promotion, training and club/crew preparation.
“We are a totally volunteer-run club, and staging this year’s regatta was even more challenging as our new club house – mostly built by volunteers from the ground up – only opened two days before the regatta.
“The success of the program and the regatta is testament to the hard work of our volunteer organisers, sponsors, coaches, race committee and community. We’re incredibly grateful to all of them,” said Ms Kelly.
1st Team Orange – Tanya Kelly MYC, Kristie Hatch, Jasmine Mudie, Lea Van Dijk
2nd Lunasea – Danielle Kennedy CYCA/MYC, Kerry Lorimer, Kerri Smith, Tamra McFarlane
3rd NQ Girls – Renne Cordinley TSC, Tilley Pain, Lynda Sawbridge
4th The L Platers – Caitlin Calder MSC, Lauren Twigg, Shira Gingell
5th Boss Squad – Michele Lochhead MYC, Fiona Bengtsson, Julia Loginova, Emily Kolokotas
6th Wing’n It – Helen Wood RQYS/MYC, Naomi Croft, Ann Porter, Oliva White